Why An All Push No Pull B2B Channel Strategy Is No Longer Viable

How can manufacturers balance the push-pull investments they need to have to make it in today’s rapidly changing environment?

A major problem today is that those who have relied solely (or put the majority of their investments) on the push side of things are now being superseded and left behind by manufacturers who have invested in both the push and pull and are doing it more effectively.

So much is changing, and these manufacturers don’t have the resources or the interactions with end customers to build brands anymore. They’re still running with their traditional strategies, methods, and infrastructure, and some are hoping that things will settle back into the way they were several years ago.

Unfortunately, things aren’t likely to head back that direction. The manufacturers are then left with outdated infrastructure and methods that aren’t going to benefit them in today’s markets, or in the future with the way things are going.

Filling the Gaps

For example, we worked with a premium brand manufacturer with industrial space. They had strong distribution and were well positioned around the markets, but they didn’t have a great relationship with their end users. Because of this, their brand building was left with a gap.

How do they go about filling that gap?

It starts with manufacturers. They have to make those investments to know who their end customers are. They should start building a database of users and start communicating more effectively with the end users. They’ll also need to build their value props and engagement strategies with the full spectrum of digital to field team support.

Identifying the end user and communicating effectively with them is the key thing to remember here.

The question to ask yourself is: Am I delivering to them in a meaningful way? Whether it be socially, directly, or in-person through a variety of media and channels, this is often a critical part that is missed.

Creating Your Value Proposition

Sometimes, manufacturers will create their value proposition, but it might not be very effective There is a difference between your proposition and the tactic or channel that is used. Your value proposition also needs to be segmented by the type of user you’re targeting.

That’s why distribution has been done well by manufacturers. But if you’re working with a lot of different markets, you’ll want to personalize your value proposition to the user. Being too broad or trying to overlap too many different markets will desensitize your end users. It will also make it difficult for them to connect with you or create the kind of relationship you need with them in order to be successful.

This Is the Future

Keep in mind – this isn’t something that’s going to go away. You won’t be able to ride it out and wait for it to go back to the way it was in the past. It’s here to stay. End users are seeking out engagement with manufacturers, and it’s not going back to the traditional relationship.

Understanding that will help you as you reevaluate your methods and infrastructure. The more you incorporate these new strategies, the more likely you’ll be to catch up with other manufacturers who have already started doing these things.

But time is not on your side, so you’ll need to act quickly.

With this being the case, what can manufacturers do today to be successful tomorrow? Let’s look at three immediate investments manufacturers can make now:

  1. Know who your end user is. Look at the drop ship data and work with channel customers to understand more about POS and the types of market you attract. This will help you know who your end customers are and how to reach out to them specifically.
  2. Understand more about them. Develop your value propositions and messaging that resonates with what they’re specifically looking for. Personalize it to your customers and their needs.
  3. Start designing direct engagement strategies. Build brand awareness and preference directly with end users.

What you do with the demand you create is pulled through your channel or whatever means of conversion that reflects your go-to-market strategy.

Building Relationships for Growth

If you don’t have these things built into your business yet, we recommend that you find outside partners or outside help and advice to obtain the information you need. These business relationships will help you redevelop and redeploy your market strategy.

Building those relationships can benefit you now and in the long run as you continue to redevelop and update your go-to-market strategy over time. It’s not guaranteed that it will stay the same, so getting outside support or partners now can help you when it continues to change in the future.

Remember, the time is now. If you haven’t invested in the push and pull strategies, you need to start. It’s gotten to the point where you won’t be able to rely solely on channel building your brand and demand long-term. So, get started today.

Thoughts? Questions?

As always, feel free to reach out to talk in greater depth about these and other issues impacting your business.